When you serve as an executor of someone’s estate, one of your responsibilities as part of the probate process is to prepare and file an inventory of the estate.
You may have many questions about what this involves and feel slightly overwhelmed. This is natural since the Arkansas probate process can sometimes be complex. First, it helps to understand the purpose of preparing the inventory.
Why inventory is necessary
The purpose of preparing the inventory is to learn what assets the decedent had at the time of their death and the value of those assets. Part of your duties as an executor is to distribute the assets to heirs or beneficiaries and that cannot be done until the assets and their values are known.
When you begin searching for the assets, it helps to know what type of assets you must locate. Some common types of probate assets include:
- Real property
- Personal property
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
Real property includes real estate the decedent owned, while personal property includes items such as vehicles, clothes, jewelry and household items. When you are looking for bank and investment accounts, remember that investment accounts today could include things such as cryptocurrency.
In addition to these assets, you should review any insurance policies held in the decedent’s name. Most policies have a beneficiary designated who will receive any proceeds from the policy. In the rare event that a beneficiary is not named, the policy could become part of the available probate assets for distribution.
Once all assets are identified they must be valued. Some assets, such as a bank account, can be easily valued by obtaining the current balance, while other assets might require hiring a professional appraiser.
After the identification and valuation process is complete, you must file the inventory with the probate court. The filing documents and requirements generally depend on the specific probate court you are in, so it is best to learn these requirements ahead of time.